Saturday, January 31, 2004

Never hire anyone who went to school in Georgia
Many of us have given attention the recommendation of Georgia’s state school superintendent that the word that describes gradual change over time be dropped from the state science curriculum. What has gotten less attention is that the new curriculum recommendations do far more damage to History than they do to Science. Fortunately, Dave Morgen, a commenter to Calpundit was good enough to point out this drooling idiocy.

Following Dave to his source we find the following:
  • The new curriculum calls for teaching only the period from 1500 to the 21st century.
  • Students will no longer study such figures as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, William the Conqueror or Joan of Arc.
  • "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" will not be mentioned.
  • The development of democratic government in Greece and the fall of the Roman Empire will be skipped.
  • Jesus, Muhammad, the Buddha and Confucius are not to be found in the new curriculum.
  • Great civilizations like ancient Egypt will no longer merit study, and the concept of feudalism will not be discussed.
  • Teachers will spend two or three weeks discussing the foundation of our country, with the remaining time devoted to studying events from 1876 to the present.

(Bullet points added).

This means that in American History:
  • That thing where some people own other people won’t be mentioned at all.
  • That flag that is a symbol of Southern heritage that liberals, northerners, and other traitors object to won’t be explained at all. It will already exist at the beginning of history.
  • The only reasons that will be given for Negroes to feel that they have been badly treated in the South or that Affirmative Action is justified will be something to do with drinking fountains and bathrooms.

And in world history, civilization begins with the Protestant Reformation. Nothing else matters.

I’ve taught college level Western Civilization. No one coming out of this school system would pass even the lowest level classes from me.
The misguided rationale behind the hastily prepared revision is that we teach too much history in high school. The solution? Eliminate 40 percent of the current coursework.

As a delightfully sarcastic student said to me once, “History was easier to learn when you were a student; there was so much less of it.” I gave her an A.
Imagine a similar approach with math. Teach half the multiplication tables and test only the half that is taught. Surely scores would rise and the headlines would scream that math scores improved! But students suffer when perception becomes more important than learning.

But that is only half of the point. The rest is the effort to remove anything even remotely controversial from the curriculum. When they get to the middle twentieth century: “Teachers are also encouraged to assign essays about dating in the Jazz Age and to show segments from ‘All in the Family,’ ‘Good Times’ and ‘Chico and the Man.’” Of course “Chico and the Man” was the most important thing to happen to America and the South in the seventies.

I don’t have to speculate that these laughable standards will put Georgia students at a disadvantage, I have the promise of the Biology Department at the University of Georgia:
As head of advising for biology majors at the University of Georgia, I will recommend that we not give advance placement credit for college-level introductory biology, regardless of test score, to students who take biology in Georgia high schools.

A student who wants to be a science teacher or go to medical, dental or other graduate school will have to retake intro biology here.

Perhaps here is an insidious new strategy behind all of this. When Kansas undermined evolution in their state curriculum, they became a laughing stock. So far this year Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, and Georgia are all reducing their curricula to something that could be taught from Jack Chick comics. If state after state adopts such curricula, how can any one be a laughing stock? When enough states do it, they establish a national standard. If all of the states are equally in the low level of their education, industries that are dependent on quality science education will have no choice but to accept them. It’s not like they can go to India to find high tech workers?

No comments: